- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2006


Kidnappers free American student

NABLUS — An American student teaching in West Bank refugee camps was freed late yesterday after being held for a day by Palestinians. He appeared to be unharmed.

Michael Leighton Phillips was brought to security headquarters in Nablus, where he was joined by a former mayor, Ghassan Shakaa, and a security chief, both members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ moderate Fatah movement.

Earlier, a blurred photocopy of a passport and student card carrying Mr. Phillips’ name was sent to a foreign news agency by a group calling itself Ansar al-Sunna.


5 killed, 16 hurt as trains collide

ZOUFFTGEN — A passenger train collided yesterday with an oncoming freight train in northeastern France, killing at least five persons and injuring 16, two seriously, officials said.

The passenger train was traveling from Luxembourg to the French city of Nancy. The train line on which it was traveling was being repaired, so it switched onto a second track, hitting the freight train, said France’s SNCF rail operator.


Prime ministers push factions on talks

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — The British and Irish prime ministers gathered Northern Ireland’s rival factions around the same negotiating table yesterday and implored them to strike a power-sharing deal.

The meeting at a golf resort outside this seaside university town, scheduled to run through tomorrow, achieved one immediate symbolic milestone: Ian Paisley and his other Democratic Unionist Party negotiators shared the same negotiating table as Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams.

The British and Irish prime ministers, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, both of whom could be out of office within months, want the parties to agree to forge a coalition by a Nov. 24 deadline.


Helicopter crash kills tycoon, 3 others

SANTO DOMINGO — Hotel tycoon Howard “Butch” Kerzner was among four persons killed yesterday when a helicopter in which they were traveling crashed into a building on the Dominican Republic’s north coast, an aviation official said.

Mr. Kerzner, chief executive officer of Kerzner International Holdings Ltd., a Bahamas-based casino and resort operator, was in the helicopter when it went down at 2:15 p.m. in the popular tourist resort of Sosua, said Yolanda Manan, a spokeswoman for the Dominican airport authority.

“It is with great sadness that the entire company mourns the tragic loss of Butch Kerzner,” Kerzner International said.


Dozens of troops, rebels killed

COLOMBO — Fighter jets pounded Tamil Tiger positions yesterday in northern Sri Lanka as fierce clashes left dozens of government troops and rebel fighters dead and scores injured.

The government said security forces had been “forced to retaliate” using heavy artillery and rockets after sporadic attacks by rebels since Tuesday along the de facto border separating government and rebel-held areas on the Jaffna peninsula.

The military said fighting killed 22 soldiers and a “large number” of rebels, adding that 113 troops were wounded.


Ex-Soviet dissident to quit politics

JERUSALEM — Former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, a former minister whose book on democracy was praised by President Bush, plans to quit Israeli politics after a decade in parliament and government, an aide said yesterday.

Mr. Sharansky, 58, a Likud Party member of parliament, moved to Israel in a highly publicized East-West deal in 1986 to secure his release after nine years in Soviet prisons on espionage charges he strongly denied.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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